There's no place like home for the holidays, but one of Piedmont Athens' tiniest patients is just focused on beating the odds this Christmas season.

Baby Hudson wasn't due until Christmas Eve. But then his mom Angel James started to notice some pain.

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“Up until my visit to Piedmont Athens Regional, I had a very easy pregnancy with no issues,” James, said. “One day, I began to notice I was having some pain. I ignored it for the day, but when it continued into the next day, I went to the emergency room.”

At 23 weeks, James gave birth to Hudson, the baby weighing only one pound, six ounces at his birth.

“Angel’s premature labor was caused by a condition known as an incompetent cervix, also called cervical insufficiency. This occurs when weak cervical tissue causes a woman’s cervix to open or dilate too early, resulting in premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy,” Atul Khurana, M.D., neonatologist at Piedmont Athens Regional, said.

Since August, Hudson has been in the hospital's NICU, having had surgery and depending on feeding tubes. The infant, considered a micro preemie, had the odds stacked against him, according to physicians.

“Infants born between 23 and 26 weeks of pregnancy are considered extremely premature, and survival rates are low for those born at or less than 23 weeks,” Dr. Khurana said. “For the first 50 minutes of life when he was first born, we didn't know he if he was going to make it through the first resuscitation. And then slowly over time, he's shown us he wants to be here."

“He was so premature that he didn’t even look like a baby yet,” James said. “It was devastating to see him like that. Having Hudson so early was scary and stressful, but the nurses and doctors in the NICU have helped me through every step. We have celebrated a couple holidays here in the hospital, but Christmas is a special time because it shows how far he’s come.”

With his weight now greater than five pounds, Hudson's trip home could soon be approaching, but as Dr. Khurana said, "it takes a village."

"When you're here for 111 days, we care for him like he's our own child," Dr. Khurana said. "Hudson really takes our hearts away because he's beaten so many odds we just can't imagine."